A WOMAN was forced to sleep in a shipping container after her home was invaded by rats.

Tia Henderson, 20, spent three months crashing in the small metal box when rodents took over her one-bed ground floor flat.

She also sofa surfed with pals and slept in friends' cars after being left with nowhere else to go.

Tia, who was in foster care until she turned 18, moved into the housing association apartment in Chadderton, Greater Manchester, with her dog Tiny two years ago.

She said they were happy there until June 2022 when she started hearing noises, before spotting two rats in her kitchen.

Tia immediately called pest control and was later told that there was likely a "big infestation".


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She contacted the council to find emergency accommodation and was only offered places that don't accept pets, she claims.

With nowhere left to go and now classed as "intentionally homeless" as she turned down the options provided, Tia decided to move into a shipping container at an animal centre where she volunteers.

Any night not at the shelter was spent in friends' vehicles and on people's sofas.

Tia said: "I'd go wherever would have me and the dog."

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The renter added: "I had been living independently. I was happy there, had made memories, I had friends nearby and life was great.

"Until June, when I heard scratching in the walls and I convinced myself I was going crazy.

"One afternoon I was sat watching TV in the living room with the dog when two baby rats caught my eye in the kitchen.

"They were confidently playing around on my kitchen rug as if I wasn’t less than a foot away from them.

"I was mortified. I instantly felt itchy and horrible."

Tia insists her flat was "clean and tidy" so had no idea why they ambushed her property, managed by Great Places Oldham.

The council blamed pet food for attracting the pests, but Tia is adamant hers was shut away.

She has now been offered suitable temporary accommodation, with an assurance that the issue will be fixed "as soon as possible".

Tia is expected to be able to move back in over the coming weeks.

I was mortified. I instantly felt itchy and horrible.

Oldham Council confirmed there was an infestation at Tia's flat, with rats likely getting in through "holes in the wall".

Her floors have since been ripped up as part of the repair work.

A spokesperson for the local authority said: "We are sorry to hear that one of our residents has been dealing with an infestation in her property.

"We can confirm that this resident is currently living in temporary accommodation while the issue is addressed and some repairs are carried out.

"We have offered to pay for the temporary accommodation and, once complete, she will be able to move back into her home."

In a joint statement, housing association Great Places and maintenance contractors Wates Living Space added: "We are sorry for the issues Tia has experienced with her home and we are working with her to carry out repairs that will allow her to return as soon as possible.

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"We are committed to providing and maintaining homes that protect the wellbeing and safety of our customers and we are in regular contact with Tia to arrange access to the property to carry out the necessary repairs.

"We have also agreed to install new flooring, provide new white goods, and provide replacement furniture so that Tia can return home."

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